Government Accountability Project releases several reports each year, relevant to one or more of our program areas. Below, please find a reverse-chronological list of reports from the past several years:
Promoting and Sustaining the National Climate Assessment After a Period of Suppression and Political Influence: A Cautionary Tale(January 2017): CSPW’s White Paper analyzes the suppression of the first National Climate Assessment during the administration of President George W. Bush. By detailing how officials systematically censored sensitive climate change information and allowed fossil-fuel backed interest groups to unfairly challenge the authority of the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the paper presents a strong case for supporting and defending the USGCRP and the climate change impacts assessment process, especially in an oil-friendly administration. The paper outlines a troubling precedent that could be followed to silence, or at least stifle, scientific facts that demonstrate the problematic consequences of anthropogenic climate change.
A Whistleblower’s Bill of Rights Through a World Bank Lens (December 2016): GAP’s 2016 Carvalho Fellow Keith Henderson studied the protections in place for whistleblowers at the World Bank. In order to receive the full annual contribution owed by the United States, the US Secretary of the Treasury must certify that best-practice whistleblower protections are in place and enforced at the World Bank. Based on his extensive analysis, Mr. Henderson concluded that the measures in place at the Bank to protect staff members from retaliation after disclosing improprieties do not meet the best-practice standard set out in US law.
Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden (March 2016): Mark Hertsgaard features GAP in his gripping, sometimes darkly comic stories of Thomas Drake and The Third Man, the unsung heroes who shaped the well-known story of Edward Snowden, National Security Agency whistleblower who leaked secret documents revealing that the US government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Why Whistleblowers Wait: Recommendations to Improve the Dodd Frank Law’s SEC Whistleblower Awards Program (February 2016): GAP’s report warns that arbitrary rulings could discourage disclosures by convincing would-be whistleblowers that the Security and Exchange Commision’s award system “neither offers proportional incentives that overcome the risks of disclosure, nor is grounded in the reality whistleblowers face…” The report is an in-depth study of the factors whistleblowers face to “do it right” when they challenge corporate misconduct, and the dangers of pressuring them to make “quick and dirty” reports. The organization noted an unresolved, confusing contradiction between Commission requirements for reports to provide evidence that is “specific” and “credible” while still being “timely,” without any guidance on how to resolve the conflict.
Representative Cases in Which the United Nations or its Funds, Programmes or Agencies have not Complied with Best Practices in Whistleblower Protection (August 2014): This report details ten representative whistleblower cases from the United Nations and its funds, programs and agencies. The report examines the institution’s failure to implement best practices for the protection of whistleblowers, in violation of the 2014 U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act. According to that law, 15 percent of the U.S. contribution to the United Nations or any of its agencies shall not be obligated until the State Department reports to Congress that the respective institution is implementing best practices for whistleblower protection.
The Rise of the American Corporate Security State: Six Reasons to Be Afraid (April 2014): This insightful new book from GAP Executive & International Director Beatrice Edwards illustrates how Americans now live in a security state where the government values corporate rights over its citizens. Edwards draws upon years of experience heading GAP to author this call-to-action for anyone willing to fight the erosion of our civil liberties.
Banking Sector Accountability: Understanding and Handling the Complex ‘SOX Plus One’ Whistleblower Claim (September 2013): Since the economic collapse began in 2008, GAP has received an influx of banking and financial institution whistleblowers’ requests for assistance – including from employees working for contractors providing compliance services – that continue to this day. This “best practices” report aims to inform legal counsel for whistleblowers about how to navigate these types of future claims – not only under protection laws, but also under federal statutes that can provide financial rewards to clients. The report is supplemented with practical PowerPoint slides. “SOX Plus One,” refers to a whistleblower who not only seeks a remedy under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for employment retaliation, but also any financial reward that may be available under a federal statute.
The Current State of Whistleblowing Law in Europe (April 2013): This report details the existing whistleblower protections found throughout Europe. The paper, authored by GAP Adjunct Attorney Thad Guyer and Seattle-based attorney Nikolas Peterson, was released ahead of the 2013 midyear meeting of the American Bar Association’s International Labor & Employment Law Committee, held in Rome. The report details how very few European countries have enacted laws that directly protect whistleblowers. This is in “stark contrast” to the United States, which offers a multitude of different protections for employees across corporate industries and government agencies. The paper argues that most European Union (EU) nations have nothing more than a “patchwork” of whistleblower protections found buried in other legislation.
Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups? (April 2013): This report details the devastating long-term effects on human health and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem stemming from BP and the federal government’s widespread use of the dispersant Corexit, in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Over a period of 20 months, GAP collected data and evidence from over two dozen employee and citizen whistleblowers who experienced the cleanup’s effects firsthand, and GAP studied data from extensive FOIA requests. Taken together, the documents and the witnesses’ testimony belie repeated corporate and government rhetoric that Corexit is not dangerous. Worse than this, evidence suggests that the cleanup effort has been more destructive to human health and the environment than the spill itself.
International Best Practices in Whistleblower Protections (March 2013): GAP’s collection of robust whistleblower protection policies and statutes is based on a checklist of 20 requirements that are outlined in this report. The checklist reflects GAP’s 35 years of lessons learned about the difference between policy rhetoric and meaningful, ‘bullet-proof’ anti-retaliation measures. All the concepts set out exist in various employee protection statutes currently on the books in the United States or in other countries. These “best practices” standards are based on a compilation of all national laws and Intergovernmental Organization policies, such as those at the United Nations, World Bank and the African Development Bank. Our report does not reference state or regional policies.
Tipping the Scales: Is the United Nations Justice System Promoting Accountability in the Peacekeeping Missions or Undermining It?(September 2012) This GAP report analyzes the impact of the United Nations internal justice system on accountability practices in the UN peacekeeping missions. The GAP report, “Tipping the Scales: Is the United Nations Justice System Promoting Accountability in the Peacekeeping Missions or Undermining It?” is based on a review of two years of UN Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) and UN Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) judgments, and 36 interviews with key UN personnel, external attorneys and whistleblowers from eight different peacekeeping missions.
Traitor: The Whistleblower and the “American Taliban” (February 2012): With this book, GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack – the Department of Justice (DOJ) whistleblower who exposed violations in the federal government’s handling of the case against “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh – details her experience blowing the whistle on Bush administration officials’ wrongdoing, the subsequent and significant retaliation against her for doing so, and how she used her experiences to later guide other high-profile whistleblowers.
How the World Bank’s Peer Review Services Deny Staff the Right to a Fair Hearing (August 2011): This report evaluates recent reforms to the World Bank’s Peer Review Services, the lower level of the internal justice system used by Bank whistleblowers and staff to challenge violations of their rights. The report finds that the Bank has created a deficient justice system that fails to comply with international human right standards and with recommendations made by experts who previously reviewed the system. Possible solutions to address these shortcomings are proposed
The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth (April 2011): Authored by GAP Legal Director Tom Devine and former GAP investigator Tarek F. Maassarani, this manual is the single most comprehensive publication ever created about corporate whistleblowing. The book summarizes a decade-long under-the-radar legal revolution in corporate worker free speech rights and the praise has been overwhelming, especially among other “good government” groups. More on the book is available here
Whistleblower Witch Hunts (December 2010): This report exposes illegal tactics widely used by federal authorities to muzzle employees who call attention to security lapses, dangers to the public, and abuses of power within their agencies. In a series of case studies, WWHdocuments the experiences of 12 federal employees who were subjected to a variety of retaliatory actions, including unjustified investigations. The investigations were designed to divert attention from the whistleblowers’ allegations by treating the employees themselves as if they were criminals.
The whistleblowers’ cases expose government malfeasance and abuse of power that include: widespread, warrantless domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens’ computer and telephone communications; fraudulent certifications for mechanics who vouch for commercial aircraft safety; failure to deliver vital troop safety equipment in order to help rival defense contractors; attempted cancellation of all Federal Air Marshal coverage during a confirmed terrorist plan; losing track of a kilogram of toxic plutonium; failure by the Air Force to inspect maintenance concerns with intelligence and cargo aircraft; and wrongfully diverting of funds reserved to treat 400,000 veterans for traumatic brain injuries.
The Foundation for the Future: What FOIA Documents Reveal (July 2010): This report, based on documents obtained through nearly three years’ of U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, exposes the highly irregular manner in which the Foundation for the Future (FFF) – an obscure project funded by the U.S. Department of State – was established and operated by Bush administration officials and appointees. Specifically, the report details how high-level State Department officials misled Congress as they sought millions in public money for the Foundation, which was a haven for people with political connections. The report also shows that FFF was a pet project of Elizabeth Cheney, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Cheney worked to set up the Foundation with Shaha Riza, Paul Wolfowitz’s companion whose seconding to the State Department (and then to the FFF) was directly responsible for the 2007 World Bank scandal that resulted in Wolfowitz’s departure from the Bank. (Executive Summary) (Key FOIA documents: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) (Appendix I)
Lack of Security for World Bank Staff and Consultants (March 2010): This report documents the lack of security for World Bank staff and consultants, based on the experience of an International Finance Corporation (IFC) employee who was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder after a mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For cost reasons, the Bank has neglected measures that would provide a reasonable assurance of staff safety and security, even as management transfers more staff into the field and expands operations into conflict and post-conflict countries. Moreover, when a staff member is injured in the line of duty, the processes in place are inadequate and irregular, using unlicensed workers’ compensation providers in order to reduce costs. In brief, the Bank is increasingly placing its employees in the line of fire without providing adequate safety protection and then, when accidents happen, evading responsibility for caring for injured personnel.
The IDB, Poverty and Racial Discrimination (October 2009): A new report prepared by GAP shows that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the most important multilateral lender to Latin America, fails to promote racial equality adequately. The issue affects the identification, preparation, and implementation of IDB programs and projects in the region, as well as the Bank’s hiring, retention, and promotion practices. (Executive Summary in English, Resumen Ejecutivo en Espanol, or El Informe en Español).
Corrupt Privatization Does Not Deter IMF Lending to Sri Lanka (July 2009): On July 24th, the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 20-month standby arrangement worth $2.6 billion (U.S.) for the government of Sri Lanka. According to the IMF’s mission chief for Sri Lanka, the lending will help the government to reverse the decline in tax revenue suffered over the past few years. The IMF is on the record, however, recognizing that budget deficits and the lack of reserves are the result of reluctance on the part of successive governments to implement measures necessary to safeguard state assets and collect revenues. Among other things, two Supreme Court decisions handed down since June 2008 show specifically that corruption and fraud favoring private interests in the sale of state-owned enterprises, a policy promoted by the Fund itself, together with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are partially to blame. GAP gratefully acknowledges the research and contributions to this paper of Consultants 21 Limited, Colombo, Sri Lanka, www.consultants21.com. (Lanka Marine Services Supreme Court Judgment, Sri Lanka Insurance Company Supreme Court Judgment)
Racial Discrimination at the World Bank (June 2009): This report investigates and finds evidence of racial discrimination against black professional grade employees at the World Bank. The report, which documents the treatment of these employees in recruitment, retention and internal judicial decisions, finds that a race ceiling exists at the institution, and that the Bank’s legal system fails to address racial discrimination adequately. Specifically, the report details that of over 3,500 professional grade World Bank staff worldwide (more than 1,000 of whom are Americans), there are only four black Americans. (Annexes)
The ABCs of Drug Safety – Accountability, Balance, and Citizen Empowerment – Part 1, Part 2 (April 2009): This report examines a number of recent and historical controversies with regard to clinical trial studies and institutional review boards (IRBs) – analyzing how major players at both the corporate and FDA levels have too often failed to perform their critical duties to safeguard human health. More importantly, this report proposes constructive reforms to the overall process, calling for the empowerment of trial participants, whistleblower protections for employees staffing trials and IRBs, removal of financial conflicts of interest between parties, and trial biases in favor of approval of proposed drugs. (Executive Summary)
Running the Gauntlet – The Campaign for Credible Corporate Whistleblower Rights (September 2008): This report surveys the dangerous landscape of corporate whistleblower laws, and recommends strategies for corporate whistleblowers to best protect themselves from future retaliation.
Privatization & Corruption – The World Bank and Azerbaijan (August 2008): This report exposes the World Bank’s role in the widespread corruption surrounding privatization in Azerbaijan during the late 1990’s. The report shows that James Wolfensohn, then president of the World Bank, personally assisted a rogue financier in his efforts to gain control of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).
Plundering the Yerevan Water Utility (August 2008): This report investigates allegations of corruption in the World Bank-funded Municipal Development Project (MDP) in Yerevan, Armenia. A whistleblower with access to internal documents about the MDP produced evidence showing that the General Director of the Yerevan Water and Sewerage Company (YWSC) in the capital and the international representative of the Italian company contracted to manage and modernize the YWSC were the same person during the crucial period between 2000 and 2002. As a result of this conflict of interest, project objectives were changed without authorization, substandard materials were used, performance standards were lowered, and works to be completed were never undertaken, among other things.
Risky Appropriations: Gambling US Energy Policy on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (March 2008): GAP and a coalition of public interest, environmental and policy groups are releasing a groundbreaking report detailing the severe shortcomings and false assertions posed in the Global Energy Nuclear Partnership (GNEP). (Fact Sheet)
OSLA Proposal for the United Nations (November 2007): Following consultations with the Under Secretary for Management of the UN Secretariat, GAP undertook a study of possible models and recommendations for the proposed UN Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA), using national and international precedents as a guide.
Review of the Department of Institutional Integrity at the World Bank (September 2007): Reviews the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) and its practices from 2005-2007 and documents several immediate and long-term problems at INT.
Citizens Environmental Monitoring and Technical Assessment – Los Alamos (July 2007): Details the elevated and potentially harmful levels of radioactivity that are present in environmental samples collected in the area around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico.
Radioactive Wastes and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (April 2007): Examines the Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), a program that proposes to expand nuclear energy worldwide.
Redacting the Science of Climate Change (March 2007): Details the findings of a yearlong investigation into political interference at federal climate science agencies.
Atmosphere of Pressure (February 2007): Along with the Union of Concerned Scientists, this GAP report uncovers new evidence of widespread political interference in federal climate science.
2006 and previous
Nongovernmental Monitoring and Technical Assessment of Past, Present, and Future Techa River Radiation (October 2006): Details the levels of radionuclear contamination in the Techa River and Chelyabinsk region of Russia.
Systematic Injustice (August 2006): Hanford Workers’ Compensation Program: Documents the Department of Energy’s interference with Hanford workers’ compensation claims.
Citizens Monitoring of Columbia River Radionuclides (June 2005): GAP has found previously unknown measures of radioactivity around the perimeter of the Hanford nuclear site in Richland, WA. (Fact Sheet, FAQ)
Shielding the Giant (2003): A GAP investigative report. John Munsell, owner of Montana Quality Foods, blew the whistle on USDA’s failure to act on evidence that ConAgra was shipping E. coli contaminated ground beef. Instead of following up on Munsell’s evidence of wrong-doing by an industry giant, USDA responded by harassing Munsell’s small meat packing company out of business.
Hamburger Hell: The Flip Side of USDA’s Salmonella Testing Program (2002): A report by GAP and Public Citizen documenting flaws in the implementation of USDA’s salmonella testing program.
The Jungle 2000: Is America’s Food Fit to Eat? (2000): A report by GAP and Public citizen documenting the experience of USDA inspectors as meat processors began to implement HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plans.
The Whistleblower’s Survival Guide: Courage Without Martyrdom by Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director. This item is currently available on four PDF documents for your review and reference: